Viva Italia…

At the ripe age of forty-something, I have trouble recalling some of my youthful motivations. Why did I want to be an astronaut? Why did I love Raggedy Ann and Holly Hobbie so much? What did I ever see in that weirdly lanky kid in seventh grade that I had a crush on? (He must have had a great personality.)

I’ve also been wondering when my deep rooted love for Italy started. Was it ingrained in me? Italy was at the forefront of who we were, my family. Italy was where we came from. We had Italian blood running through our veins!

Or perhaps it was the idea that Italy was safe because it was so far away. As an awkward, insecure teenage girl, Italy was romanticized perfectly and full of promise and so very distant.Those far off dreams are so much easier to contemplate somehow in our youth.

Another possibility is my love of history that brought me closer to the mother country. The idea of Ancient Rome enticed me so much that I took Latin as my language in high school. Yup, I was that kid who took a dead language. But only because it came with history lessons. (And growing up in southern California, there was one language that would have been a better choice, one that would have made more sense, but I’ve never been one for making sense.) I’ve always followed my own path. So perhaps it was a love of Italy and history and doing things differently that drew me to Latin.

As I was falling in love with Italy, I was also falling in love with Paris. Italy was a mesmerizing romantic land of my heritage, which left Paris to be this dreamy, hazy mecca where the writer part of me wanted to go in order to evolve into her best self.

Since my youthful ideals were formed, I’ve sense visited both. I adore Paris, but each time I was lucky enough to go, it was with a tour group. I’ve no doubt the day will come when I’ll finally go visit France without a group, just my writing self…to see what happens.

But, I digress. (As I often do in my bloggings.)

I remember vaguely the dream of Italy. And then, the dream became my sisters and I stepped aside and let her take the reins. My sister worked her ass off to learn the language while attending college in California and then through a study abroad program, she finally made her dream a reality.

And THEN she figured out how to stay in Italy and made a life for herself as an ex-pat. She has put down roots, married and had children in Florence, Italy. She’s living the dream.

I finally realized my own dream of Italy and have traveled several times alone to visit and explore. I also worked my ass off to learn the Italian language. I never thought I would do such a thing, and never thought two languages would fit in my head. But then again, I kind of started taking Italian in High School. As we all know, Italian is just Latin in the ablative form. (That’s the only fact I recall about Latin, that if you learned that dead language, then you’d somehow magically know Italian. It didn’t happen. I just learned how to spout that one phrase: ‘Italian is just Latin in the ablative form.’ Oh, and that, “semper ubi sub ubi” means: Always wear underwear. {money well spent, huh?})

So, because Italian is such a big part of my life, I am often in positions where I tell people, “my sister lives in Florence, Italy.” Look, I live in Idaho, and alas, when I share this bit of information with people they don’t go all gooey and exclaim, “Idaho! That’s amazing, I’ve always wanted to go to Idaho. It’s on my bucket list!” I mean, there might be a few out there who do feel that way…but it’s not the majority. So when you get to say, “My sister lives in Italy.” It’s like having some clout. Like being cool by association.

I was thinking a few things today as I’m working on my book coming out February of 2023, called The Italian Holiday…

…I meant for this book to be a sort of study for another book I’m writing, but strangely, it didn’t end up that way. This book took off and became its own entity. And what has happened, is that I will soon have several books set in Italy that are going to be published. The Italian books, if you will. And I kinda love that.

The other thought came from reading through a few blogs about Florence. (I was doing a bit of research.) There are a lot of blogs on Florence, and several by expats. And several of those blogs are by people my sister went to school with. Which made me think, wow, Florence really is a small town.

Here’s something. Florence has the same population as that of Boise, Idaho. Roughly 395,000 people. Which isn’t really that big for such a historical city center. (Did I just blow your mind? When I first heard those facts, it blew my mind.) One big difference between Florence, Italy and Boise, Idaho…Boise doesn’t get 10 million visitors a year.

Anyway, the other thought was that I should make my sister create her own blog, only that’s not her dream. I could do one for her, and of course I already thought of the blog name “My sister lives in Italy”.

But I’m not going to do that. I have books to write and I kind of want y’all to read my Writing Moose words. Of course, if you are disappointed and despondent by my decision, take heart.

I thought I would list a few blogs I’ve found during my research on Florence. They have some dreamy elements in common. Ex-pats living a life I can only dream about. Gorgeous pictures of food. Gorgeous pictures of Tuscany. Some fun tourist advice. And gorgeous pictures of food (did I mention this one yet?)

Of course, I’ll link to a few of my own blogs depicting my adventures in Florence. Just for old time sake.

Ecco, amici!

Emiko Davies is half Japanese, half Australian who ended up in Florence, Italy. There, she fell in love and married. She has a beautiful website and wonderful recipes and stories.

Melinda Gallo arrived in Florence in 1997 to study Italian for three months and to find my inspiration to write. In 2004 she moved back permanently. On her website she says, “Florence is not just my home, but also my life companion, which is why I call her “my beloved city.””

I love this article so much that my last trip to Italy, I went on a scavenger hunt of sorts and found all of the things mentioned.

This blog was just darling! It’s called TooMuchTuscany. A blog about Tuscany and Italy. The author,  Valentina writers about her experiences living in Florence, as well as hidden treasures, tips and events.

When my sister got married, we stayed here at Torre A Cona. A farmhouse in the Tuscan country side that is part of a working vineyard and olive grove. This place was bucket list stuff. Yes, that’s a picture of where we stayed above.

In June / July of 2016 I went to visit my sister and spent a lot of time writing and ruminating about my adventures. Here they are in order.

Awake in Italia

More Tuscan Musings


Springtime in Italy where I share with you…well…my visit in the spring.


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